Feeling helpless is the pits. We’ve been experiencing it the past few weeks. It came up as we watched people struggling through high water trying to hold a child or a pet and keep up with a handful of possessions tossed into a plastic bag. Helplessness haunts us as we view images of flooded neighborhoods and destroyed towns. And helplessness nags us as we wonder what we can do that will make any real difference in this massive sea of suffering.
Is there any word from the Lord that touches the deep flood of helplessness we feel?
Remember the burning bush, where Moses hears the Lord say, “I have clearly seen my people…I heard their cry.” (Exodus 3:7) The good news is that God is not absent or indifferent. God is not blind, insensitive or hard of hearing. The God of infinite compassion sees, hears, feels, and shares our suffering. We are not alone.
Recall when the disciples felt helpless when they were caught in a storm on the Sea of Galilee. (Mark 4:35-41) Jesus heard their cries. He spoke the words, “Be still!” and “the wind settled down and there was a great calm.” The calming of the water was equal to the
calming of their fears. The calming word for our helplessness is that God is with us. We are not alone.
Is there a word from the Lord when we see other people’s suffering from a distance? We cannot stop the storm. We can’t erase the impact of increasing coastal populations or the absence of city planning that led to paving over the earth that might have absorbed more of the rain. We can’t replace all that has been lost. Are we helpless, too?
As it was for Moses, the word of the Lord for us is, “Get going.” (Exodus 3:10) We aren’t helpless! The compassion of God that moved the Samaritan to do what he could for the helpless man on the side of the road calls us to get going; to do whatever we can to relieve some part of the suffering we see.
Sometimes everything we have to give seems like tiny drops of compassion dropped into a massive flood of loss and suffering. But God has a miraculous way of using small gifts to bring great healing, hope, and the strength to go on.
Every “flood bucket” or “hygiene kit” we send, every gift we give to UMCOR or Hopeforhoustonnow.com, every prayer we offer becomes the expression of God’s love and the witness of God’s presence for the people who receive them.
Church, you’ve done amazing things the past 2+ weeks. Hats off to Kenny Beauvais and everyone else who’ve “Gotten going”. The funny thing is, the more love you give away, the more love you have.